I'm not saying I agree with this line of thinking this is just me playing devil's advocate from a voters perspective. Yes Bagwell never tested positive or was found to be in the report, but the way that the roid era went, that doesn't neccessarily mean he never did. With the amount of "average" players that were taking roids according to reports it's hard to say that you can safely assume that anyone wasn't taking them at the time. MLB was far too lax for far too long on the topic, and it became a league wide trend. So while Bagwell may have dodged getting his name put out there, no one has any real way of knowing who did what, which is where Piazza takes some heat at times. I personally think the all or none is the way to go. There's no definitive way to go down the HOF list from that era and say with utter certainty if some guys didn't use. And since you can't do that, just assume everyone did and that everyone from that era deserves to be judged on the playingfield that was that era. Judge them against one another, and if they were HOF for that time, then vote them in and forget about it.
A couple of Hall of Fame legends spoke out in support of the voting shutout:
Al Kaline: "I'm kind of glad that nobody got in this year. I feel honored to be in the Hall of Fame. And I would've felt a little uneasy sitting up there on the stage, listening to some of these new guys talk about how great they were...What really gets me is seeing how some of these players associated with drugs have jumped over many of the greats in our game. Numbers mean a lot in baseball, maybe more so than in any other sport. And going back to Babe Ruth, and players like Harmon Killebrew and Frank Robinson and Willie Mays, seeing people jump over them with 600, 700 home runs, I don't like to see that."
Goose Gossage: "If they let these guys in ever -- at any point -- it's a big black eye for the Hall and for baseball. It's like telling our kids you can cheat, you can do whatever you want, and it's not going to matter...I think the steroids guys that are under suspicion got too many votes. I don't know why they're making this such a question and why there's so much debate. To me, they cheated. Are we going to reward these guys?...I don't know how great some of these players up for election would've been without drugs. But to me, it's cheating. Numbers are important, but so is integrity and character. Some of these guys might get in someday. But for a year or two, I'm glad they didn't...I don't know if baseball knows how to deal with this at all. Why don't they strip these guys of all these numbers? You've got to suffer the consequences. You get caught cheating on a test, you get expelled from school."
Some of those guys didn't cheat though, that's the thing. It wasn't against the rules for them to do those things, and they took full advantage of a non-existent testing program. Melky Cabrera? Yeah he cheated, he knew the stuff he could and couldn't take and got caught with his hand in the cookie jar. Bonds, McGwire, Sosa? Not suspended, and therefore, according to the logic of the MLB, didn't cheat.
Also, character clause or cheating, whatever. What about Ty Cobb? Should they rip him out of the hall of fame because he had crap character and probably cheated in ways that players no longer can? Should they take out Mickey Mantle because he was a womanizer and disrespected the amount of natural talent he had? The character clause is the dumbest thing I've ever heard of. It's professional baseball, a lot of guys in that hall of fame don't have "good character".
It's upsetting that Piazza (who was never associated with PEDs) is getting black listed for the era he played in.
I loved that guy, modeled my hitting style after him (up to and including the "drag the bat from the on deck circle to the batter's box" thing), and just want to see the first HOF inductee I remember watching every game for and caring about a great deal.
The fact that the Mitchell Report still hasn't been leaked is a shame, because it would at least give a lot of insight into what superstar players were heavily involved. If Piazza isn't on that list, there's no reason he shouldn't be in right now.
First time I really looked at these since yesterday. It's amazing to me that my grandpa tells me all these stats all the time, so it's not new information, and I still get astounded seeing them all in one page. Truly remarkable